IBÖ-09: BioBauMat - Innovative organic-based building material made of cattail and geopolymer

Building materials
© typha technik GmbH
The structure of cattails makes them ideal for use in building materials.

The aim of this exploratory project is to ascertain the underlying development and utilization potential of a sustainable building material based on the cattail plant. The innovation lies in the choice of binder: a geopolymer is to be used.

Project goals

Contrary to their name, geopolymers are not polymers but alkali-activated binders which harden as a result of the alkali-induced crosslinking of silicates containing aluminium. This process is still not fully understood, but is often compared with the polymerization of plastics, which is why the name “geopolymers” has become established for these products. Numerous base materials can be used, such as calcined clays and secondary raw materials like ashes or slags. Since the production of this binder generates only about 10% of the CO2 emissions required for cement-based building materials, it makes a sustainable alternative. Furthermore, building materials made from cattail and geopolymers can be returned to the material cycle after their useful life, e.g. as fertilizer. Therefore, the project results in the development of a usable organic product with a favorable life cycle assessment, which conserves resources and promotes sustainability in the building industry.

Due to its anticipated properties, numerous applications are conceivable for this innovative product in the construction sector, not only as an insulating material but also as a load-bearing building material.

Current project status

The project started in October 2022 and will run until September 2023.